Los Angeles Burn Injury Lawyers
Compensation for Burn Injury Victims in Los Angeles
Burn injuries may create enormous distress when someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions cause them. The following can cause severe burns that could require hospitalization, surgery, and long-term inpatient care in a burn center for specialized treatment:
- Defective products, including auto defects
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Electrical accidents
- Construction accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Dangerous equipment and machinery
If you or someone you love sustained burns due to an accident that someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions caused, the law may entitle you to receive compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and physical and mental suffering. Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, has helped many Californians with burn injuries to recover damages for extensive burns and other catastrophic injuries. To learn more, email us today or call (310) 576-1200 to schedule a free consultation.
Our Results in Burn Injury Lawsuits
The knowledgeable legal team at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, has successfully brought burn injury cases throughout Southern California and the United States. In fact, one of our attorneys, Christine Spagnoli, was a key member of the trial team in a case against General Motors. GM’s defective fuel system in their vehicles led to burn injuries for two adults and four children. The defendants recovered $4.9 billion in the largest product liability verdict in U.S. judicial history to that date.
In addition, Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP’s lawyers obtained a $58 million award in the largest single plaintiff’s personal injury verdict in California for a products liability case involving a burn injury. These record-setting cases are just two of the many verdicts and settlements we have helped win for our clients with burn injury claims.
Some of our other settlements and verdicts in burn injury cases include:
- $25 million for a construction worker who hit an unmarked live electrical line while using a drill at a construction site
- $21 million when negligent placement of a Southern California Edison power line resulted in severe burns and amputation
- $17.8 million in another case of negligent power line placement that resulted in burn injuries
- $6.4 million for a case of negligent placement of overhead power lines
- $6 million for a painter whose 12-foot aluminum pole contacted an overhead power line
- $5.2 million for a college student whose fraternity members threw a firecracker into his room while he was asleep, causing serious burns
- $4.5 million for a man who fell into an open fire pit on a restaurant’s patio.
- $2.75 million for a woman who received severe burns from a fire started by a defective electric blanket
The skilled personal injury attorneys at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, have settled and tried many more cases where defective products were responsible for causing fires that led to burn injuries and when utility companies negligently positioned electrical lines.
What Catastrophic Burn Injury Victims and Their Families Need to Know
The Different Causes of Burn Injuries
A patient may sustain burns in several ways. Some of the more serious burn injuries come from:
- Thermal burns, when the body comes in contact with hot objects and flames
- Scalds from hot liquids
- Chemical burns
- Explosions, which can occur in motor vehicle or workplace accidents
- Electrical burns, which result from defective products, contact with power lines, or failure to follow proper lock out/tag out procedures
The source of the burn doesn’t matter much to the patient when it comes to the resulting pain and injury, although some sources of burns are more likely to inflict deeper and more severe damage, and medical professionals may treat different types of burns differently.
Burn Injury Severity
Doctors generally classify burns into three different categories of severity.
- First-degree burns are mild and affect only the outer layer of skin (the epidermis). People might get these burns from momentarily touching a hot pan on the stove. They usually result in redness of the skin and some immediate pain that lessens with time.
- Second-degree burns are more serious and extend into the outer epidermis layer and the dermis, or lower layer, of skin. You might receive a second-degree burn from accidentally pouring boiling water onto your body or touching a clothes iron. In addition to pain and redness, most second-degree burns cause blistering and swelling.
- Third-degree burns are among the most severe burns. They burn all the way through the epidermis and dermis skin layers and damage the tissue underneath. Skin may turn white or blackened and charred and it may go numb if nerves were damaged. Most severe burn injuries that result in lawsuits, such as those from fires or electrical shocks, are third-degree burns.
Some medical professionals also use additional categories—fourth- through sixth-degree burns—to indicate injuries that burn down into ligaments, tendons, muscles, bones, or internal organs.
Third-degree burns and worse, especially if they cover a significant percentage of the body, can lead to complications and may require extended hospitalization and skin-graft surgeries. If the burn damages muscle and other interior tissue, patients may require physical therapy to regain range of motion. Because of extensive nerve damage, burns at these levels can cause chronic pain.
Burn Injury Treatments
Patients with serious burns require hospitalization to effectively manage pain and reduce the risk of infection. While under care, medical professionals experienced at treating burn injuries may prescribe:
- Intravenous fluids. When the body is burned, it sends internal water to the burn site to attempt to heal the body. This can result in serious dehydration that can cause organ failure. IV fluids help to replenish the water the body loses.
- Water-based treatments. Ultrasound mist therapy is one type of water-based treatment that can clean burn wounds and stimulate healing.
- Dressings. New technologies have led to several high-tech options for wound dressings that help reduce pain, prevent infection, and stimulate healing. Changing these dressings regularly can consume a lot of time and require skilled medical care.
- Burn creams and ointments. Some topical products can help with wound healing, depending on the type and location of the burn.
- Medication. Burns can cause enormous pain, and treating them with dressings and ointments can prove difficult for many patients, so many patients will require pain medication. They may also need antibiotics to ward off infection.
Ongoing Complications From Burn Injuries
Burns don’t always heal quickly or uniformly. While each patient may experience a different outcome, some common complications result from many burn injury cases.
- Infection. This includes skin infections from bacteria as well as sepsis when the infection spreads to the bloodstream. Serious infections can cause organ failure, especially in an already compromised patient.
- Breathing problems. Smoke inhalation or lung damage from inhaling hot air can hurt breathing and require respiratory therapy.
- Scars. Burns can cause the skin to scar and contract, which typically requires surgery to replace, or graft, the skin. Skin graft surgeries can fail, adding more issues and costs to treatment.
- Fragile skin. Skin may not fully recover from burn damage. It may thin out and more easily sustain damage for the rest of a patient’s life.
- Bone and joint problems. Scarred and contracted skin can have a domino effect on tendons and ligaments, even if the burn injury did not directly damage those tissues. This can lead to ongoing difficulties with joint movement.
- Psychological damage. Burn patients may suffer from mental and emotional issues due to the accident that injured them.
The Lifetime Costs of Catastrophic Burn Injuries
Treatment costs for burn injuries can extend into millions, due in part to the many ongoing complications that burn victims suffer. According to the National Business Group on Health, hospitalizations for burns represent only 1 percent of all injuries in the United States, but treatments cost more than $10.4 billion per year.
The National Business Group on Health also estimates that the following complications can add significant expenses to a patient’s medical bills:
- Scarring or skin contracture may add more than $35,000 to treatment costs.
- Infections, which occur in roughly one-third of severe burn cases, may add more than $120,000 to treatment costs.
- Fragile skin may add more than $107,000 to treatment costs.
- Delayed wound healing or failure of skin graft surgery may add more than $110,000 to treatment costs.
- Counseling and for psychological issues may add more than $75,000 to treatment costs.
Thorough and ongoing treatment for burn injuries can last years add up to millions of dollars in bills and expenses. That’s one reason why legal awards and settlements for burn injuries are high—patients must manage the enormous costs of their continuing treatment.
Liability for Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can happen in many different ways—from a defective product causing a fire to a person coming into contact with an improperly marked live electrical line to a construction accident. Consequently, more than one negligent person or entity may contribute to a serious burn injury. Experienced attorneys who have handled many burn injury cases know what to prove and how to provide proper documentation and evidence to demonstrate fault.
Sometimes proving negligence is as simple as showing that improper signs marked hazards like overhead power lines. In other cases, like product defect lawsuits, proving negligence can create greater challenges and involve complicated analysis. For example, in a motor vehicle accident, the design of the car and some of its parts may cause a burn injury. A skilled legal team can identify all of the negligent parties that played a role in creating, manufacturing, and selling the defective product(s).
Compensation for Catastrophic Burn Injuries
If you or someone you love sustained severe burns as a result of someone’s negligence or wrongful actions, you might recover some or all of these damages, depending on the facts of your individual case:
- Medical expenses. Expenses can cover immediate emergency care, ongoing care, and therapy to recover.
- Physical pain and suffering. Ongoing physical problems and additional injuries can change the amount of an award or settlement.
- Mental suffering. Many patients with burns suffer for years from anxiety or stress-related disorders stemming from the accident, and they may recover financial compensation for it.
- Lost wages. Burn patients must often go through long recovery programs and surgeries, which renders them unable to work.
- Loss of companionship. Family members may recover damages if the patient’s injuries prevented them from continuing their regular household roles and obligations.
Consult Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, if You Suffered a Catastrophic Burn Injury in Los Angeles
In appropriate cases, attorneys in personal injury cases, including most burn injury cases, usually work on a contingent fee basis under which the client does not pay the law firm any money up front. Instead, the attorney takes any fees out of any settlement or award recovered on the client’s behalf.
No reputable law firm can guarantee the outcome of a case, but Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, has a long history of successfully recovering damages for many people who were burned due to negligence or wrongful conduct. Working with a lawyer who has managed many cases like yours and who is not only experienced but compassionate about your circumstances can help you feel like you have a true partner in your case.
Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, handles cases throughout the greater Los Angeles area and Southern California. Our attorneys may also consult on larger cases throughout the United States.
Whether your severe burn injury occurred when a defective gas tank exploded after a car accident or because of faulty wiring in an electrical product, or by some other negligent act, contact our compassionate, experienced accident attorneys. Email Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, today, or call (310) 576-1200 for a free consultation.